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Friday, December 1, 2023
Dec. 1, 2023

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Master Chorale sets special show: Vancouver group to perform musical ‘A Christmas Carol’

By , Columbian staff writer

In its upcoming holiday concerts, the Vancouver Master Chorale will top off Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” with the one element that’s always been sorely missing from this dramatic tale: music.

“What a profoundly moving story, with music in its title — but no actual music,” writes contemporary composer Benedict Sheehan, in an introduction to his new musical treatment of the classic story. Dickens’ novel was first published in 1843. Sheehan’s musical approach debuted in 2022.

The 105-voice Vancouver Master Chorale will share Sheehan’s setting of “A Christmas Carol” during its upcoming holiday concerts. Rebecca Hoffman, the recent star of “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” at downtown’s Magenta Theater, will give a dramatic reading of the tale. Her narrative will be underpinned by Sheehan’s creative musical approach, blending fresh, modern sounds with traditional carols and songs that date back hundreds of years.

“It is fiendishly difficult to sing but so worth it,” said Jana Hart, Master Chorale’s artistic director.

The same can be said, Hart added, about J.S. Bach’s masterful “Magnificat,” which will open the holiday performances. She called it “the most joyful choral piece ever written about Mary,” the mother of Jesus. The concerts will feature a small orchestra and harpsichord accompaniment.

Concerts are set for 7 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 p.m. Dec. 3 at First Presbyterian Church, 4300 Main St. Tickets are $25, or $5 for students age 13 through college (with ID). Learn more at vancouvermasterchorale.org/.

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